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Shifti allows pages to be automatically listed in groups called "categories". Category listings are very bare-bones, but their automated nature makes them very useful as a means of keeping track of comprehensive groups.

To add a page to a category, simply include a link to the category name somewhere on the page. For example, to put a page into the "Story" category, one would include the text "[[Category:Story]]" somewhere in the page. By custom this link is placed at the top, though since it doesn't show up in the resulting page text its exact location is not important.

If one wants to create a link to the category listing, put a colon at the front of the link. For example, to link to the "story" category listing one would use the following text: "[[:Category:Story]]". It produces the following link: Category:Story. To beautify the link you can use a pipe to give it different text. For example, "[[:Category:Story|all stories]]" produces the link "all stories"

Sorting pages within categories

By default, pages in a category listing are sorted alphabetically. This may not be ideal, however. For example, the page "The Once And Future King" would be sorted under "T", and "User:Joe Bloggs/Magic Cheese" would sort under "U".

To change the default sorting on a category-by-category basis, one can use the pipe to give a custom sort key to an article. For example, instead of putting "The Once And Future King" into Category:Story with "[[Category:Story]]", one could use "[[Category:Story|Once And Future King, The]]". The page's name would still be listed in the category as "The Once And Future King", but it would be sorted under "O" rather than "T". Similarly, one could use [[Category:Story|Magic Cheese]] to sort Joe's story under "M" instead of "U".

If a story belongs to many categories, or if some of the categories were added by templates and you can't easily change the sort keys for them, one can also use the DEFAULTSORT magic word to change the default sort key for a page. All one needs to do to do this is to insert the text "{{DEFAULTSORT:Once And Future King, The}}" somewhere in the text (by custom down at the bottom with the categories) and all categories on the page that don't have their own custom sort key will sort the page under "O". Note that the DEFAULTSORT magic word is surrounded by curly brackets rather than square brackets, and uses a colon rather than a pipe character before the sort key.

Also note that unlike article titles, the first character of a category sort key can be lower case. So if one inserts [[Category:Story|magic cheese]] into a page the page will be sorted under "m" rather than "M", which could make it hard to find. Due to the way ASCII characters are encoded lower case letters are alphabetized after the upper-case letters (ie, an alphabetized list goes A-Z, then a-z).


In addition to putting pages into categories, one can also put categories themselves into other categories. This results in a grouping of subcategories that can be useful for organizing large numbers of related pages. For example Joe Bloggs could put his stories into Category:Joe Bloggs, which is itself placed in Category:Stories by author, and so someone browsing Category:Stories by author would see just the Joe Bloggs subcategory listed there instead of having Joe Bloggs' stories mixed together with all the other authors' stories.

Author categories

Every author has a category of his or her own, to serve as a "master list" of their own stories. This category should generally have the same name as the author's user name, to make it easier to keep track, but this isn't strictly necessary.

Every author category should have the template {{Author category}} at the top. This will generate a link back to the author's user page. If the author's username is the same as the category name no parameters are needed, but if it's different one can use a parameter to modify the link. See the template's page for more documentation on its use, but don't worry about it if you don't want to be bothered; administrators will make sure the template is in place and properly formatted.

Since categories are simple alphabetical lists without any annotation or other special formatting, it is common for authors to also maintain hand-crafted lists of their stories on their user pages. If you prefer to link directly to your author category, though, prepend a colon to the link as described above (eg, Category:Joe Bloggs).

Author subcategories

If an author wishes, he can create other categories to serve as subcategories of his author category. For example, an author who has posted both TF fiction and non-fiction essays about TF writing could have separate subcategories for these different types of material. An author may also want a separate subcategory to put his in-progress or incomplete works in. Generally speaking, author subcategories should be used to keep non-story material from cluttering up the main author category.

Setting categories

Some stories are set in common shared universes, or in some cases in personal non-shared universes. When it isn't particularly important what order these stories are read in, a setting category is useful to group them together (when reading order is important it might be a good idea to create a page with an ordered list on it). Setting category pages can also be a useful place to put a brief description of the story universe, perhaps with links directing readers to more complete FAQs or to important establishing stories.

TF type categories

There are also categories for stories that contain particular types of TF content, for example Category:Transgender or Category:Animal. These are much more nebulous and in some cases open to interpretation than matters of authorship or setting. The intent is to give a general idea of a story's contents so that readers who are interested in specific types of stories may more easily find them. Since in the default Monobook skin most people browse Shifti with categories are listed at the bottom of the story page, they don't give spoilers unless the reader actively seeks them out.

Stories may have as many categories as needed to cover what the author thinks is important. Administrators will sometimes add or remove TF type categories as seems appropriate, and conduct reorganizations of the category structure as Shifti's collection grows. New TF type categories are added from time to time, and existing stories take longer to categorize by type since they need to be read first, so this particular area of Shifti is likely to be more out of date and in state of flux than some of the other categories.

Since most of the stories on Shifti have been placed in user subpages where they can't be edited by non-administrators, the template Template:needs category has been created to summon administrator assistance. Place this template on the talk page associated with the story in question, and if you wish you can use an optional parameter to make specific suggestions about what category changes you think may be needed.